(DAY #45 total inpatient admission)
Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Meatballs in tomato sauce, mashed potato, cauliflower.
Jam and coconut sponge, custard.
Egg mayo sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual PINT of milk.
Stepping onto scales… gaining 0.5kg… stepping off scales… straight into breakfast to face (and determined to complete) my first full-portion of Bran Flakes. Still missing my trust Weetabix chums… !
I had already faced this cereal of course, but attempted about half, due to still not getting my head around the size of the Unit’s in-weighed cereal portions. But no Yasmin, listen up Anorexia, we need to lose this reliance on measurements, the specifics. DROP THE THOUGHT. Hear it, accept it but don’t jump on board. Reminder to self: your body is no calculator. Whether you’re here to gain weight or not, your body needs to be nourished and deserves to be for the rest of your life. You don’t have to see getting through this breakfast as ‘doing it for the weight-gain’, you can see it as doing it for your life. Doing it to KEEP that control back well into the years of your life. To be able to freely choose what cereal you fancy, that morning. To waste no more thoughts on staring at a set of kitchen scales. Think of all those wasted seconds carrying out that process – day-in, day-out. And all for what? Recovery doesn’t have to be temporary this time round…
…and it bloody well won’t be! That’s why we’re doing things differently right now. No, you don’t HAVE to have bran flakes. You could have the less calorie option… and yes this thought was sucking a fair bit of my energy whilst munching through. Especially being sat with two other patients both on Weetabix. It was like watching my old lover get a new boyfriend… that’s how much crazy attached-trust I have with the Wheaty guys. Ha!
Anyway, persevered and whatever, got it done.
And I’m proud of myself for doing it. I wanted to prove to myself that I DO have a choice. It feels extremely rebellious, choosing something other than the bare minimum available, but just like any other human on this planet, Yasmin deserves variety. Variety = freedom = quality of life… !
I could use my energy right now to argue back a million reasons why I still don’t feel undeserving for that ‘variety’, considering where I’m at with my life and how I feel in myself, but that’s not going to gain me any positivity back. There’s no ‘waiting for the right moment’ to commit to recovery. No waiting until tomorrow to face your fears. All we have is right now. I’m trusting the process; I trust that my mind and body craves variety… so I’m learning to listen.
And now you’re going to find this a bit bizarre.
So with my dietician, if you’ve read previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve been working through a ‘graded exposure’ eating behaviours plan. To set a goal for each meal/snack if possible. When it comes to my morning toast, I’d become reliant on cutting it into rectangles, and always eating the crust first of each half-slice, (butter-side down). It had been a carefully-controlled manner in which to get through it.
Working on snapping out of that, I started setting mini goals, sometimes accomplished, other times not. (at times the compulsion to carry out the orderly method felt too strong, particularly if I was feeling low, or other issues felt so out of control)
The first for example was – “not eating the crust first on one half-slice” …working up to a full slice and so-on. Amongst keeping this challenge up, I also have been attempting to add Marmite (because Yasmin loves the stuff) on occasions. Some days I’ve caved in, if my head starts over-thinking about everything else that’s coming to eat that day, finding an excuse not to deserve it… “but come off it, you’re having THAT pudding later” or “you’re challenging THAT tonight, how can you possibly choose to be so greedy?”.
This is something I’m still working on and at the moment my head is latched on to not being allowed it more than every-other day on one of the two slices… but it completely depends on what’s on the menu for that day. I guess at the moment it’s even hard to judge when I actually FANCY Marmite… ? I’m having hope that will come in time to being able to read my own hunger signals, and learning to trust my instincts. But where I’m at with it now is definitely progress.
Another experiment I had set myself with the toast malarkey, was to cut it into triangles instead of rectangles – which really seems no big deal. But I’ve become quite tuned in/wary of my new ‘golden napkin’ rules (see post DAY#27) creeping in when I’ve conquered something; they then quickly become very safe and hard to break.
Wasn’t a fan of this new shape at first, not going to lie… ! But who loves change immediately? I didn’t write it off, I reminded myself it was more important to me to LOSE my rigidity around food, then for it to ‘feel right’ eating something. Because ultimately, that way it meant the food was still controlling me and I was no longer in power.
I also on/off have experimented with eating the odd half slice butter-side UP, as I’ve observed most people eating it. I think because Anorexia at first is so shocked my real taste again, it sees it as absolutely VITAL to savour it as much as possible, especially if it’s going to be ‘worth’ coping with the guilt afterwards for even deciding to eat it.
Well now I’m a few weeks into munching through toast and butter, routinely every day, although I get anxious and it’s difficult being so close to breakfast and lunch… a huge part of me still convinces me it’s unnecessary… it’s become so much more natural now. I feel complete acceptance about what I’m doing, that my head has room for a bit of peace.
This morning I felt I reached the most progress so far with my ‘toast malarkey’ challenge.
It felt so weirdly, almost ‘normal’. I didn’t feed Anorexia the attention of having to savour every last bit. That wasn’t to say I scoffed it at all. But I ate two of the half-slices butter-side UP, without eating the crust first, and all cut into triangles – not rectangles.
It may sound pathetic, but it did feel a bit chaotic – I can’t lie. But it felt refreshing to test it and to sit through it, knowing that nothing bad was going to happen. Anything ‘real life’ is going to feel quite chaotic to Anorexia. So at the moment, while I’m making RECOVERY choices… I know that chaos usually feels… right.